02/03/09 — Town board honors three for service

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Town board honors three for service

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 3, 2009 1:46 PM

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From left, Mount Olive Mayor Ray McDonald Sr., former legislator Louis Pate Jr. and former county commissioners Efton Sager and Atlas Price Jr. pose for a picture following Monday night's town board meeting. The town board presented certificates of appreciation to Pate, Sager and Price for their years of service and efforts on behalf of the town.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Retired county commissioners Atlas Price Jr. of Seven Springs and Efton Sager of Goldsboro, along with former state representative Louis Pate Jr. of Mount Olive, were honored by the town board Monday night.

It took the board less than an hour to dispose of a light agenda that also included declaring old police handguns as surplus and approving a resolution in support of Black History Month.

Mayor Ray McDonald Sr. told the audience he was completing a term on the nominating committee of the Council of Governments as Sager was coming on board.

"I recommended Efton be the new president and he has been there ever since," McDonald said. "He has done such a good job. He represents nine counties throughout our region and that says a lot about a person when the people of those nine counties want you to keep doing the job that you are doing.

"He's going to do a great job in the legislature (as a state representative) for us. He has made only one promise and that is he will look after the people of Wayne County and that is all we can ask."

McDonald noted he was serving on the county commission when Price was elected.

"Atlas is conservative and never liked to do things real quick," McDonald said. "He was the force on that board that kept us from making a lot of mistakes."

McDonald praised Price, Sager and Commissioner J.D. Evans, who was in the audience, for helping the town in what it gets from the county.

"People may say the town does not get anything from the county," McDonald said. "Let me just tell you we do. We get the airport, the library, social services, Meals on Wheels, all of that is financed by the county.

"The relationship between the two boards has been good, but we realize they can't do it all and we know we have to do things for ourselves."

Speaking of Pate, McDonald said, "Louis came in as mayor about halfway through my term as town manager. We talked and I learned real quickly that the town of Mount Olive was his main focus."

He said the town had been able to rely on Pate when problems surfaced about town grant applications.

McDonald called the three men, "honest men that can't be found in today's politics. These are the kinds of people that need to be serving."

Along with framed copies of the certificates of appreciation each of the three men was presented a Mount Olive ball cap.

Pate in turn gave N.C. flag lapel pins to board members.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming February as Black History Month in Mount Olive and Feb. 28 as Black History Day.

The town, in association with the Carver High School Alumni and Friends Association and the Mount Olive Historical Society, will sponsor the annual Black History program at 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Senior Citizens building.

Plans for the program have yet to be finalized and include a parade.

Commissioners also endor-sed a resolution supporting a new government bond, stamp and coin program.

According to the resolution, proceeds from that program will be used exclusively "for those warriors and their families who have borne the brunt of preserving our freedoms and extending those freedoms throughout the world."

In final business, commissioners declared 14 Beretta handguns as surplus thereby clearing the way for them to be sold.

Mount Olive police officers had used the 20-year-old handguns until recently when the town used a grant to purchase new Glock .40-caliber weapons.

Town Manager Charles Brown said he had spoken with gun dealers who had valued the weapons at $175 per gun.

Along with declaring the guns as surplus, commissioners agreed to allow police officers to have first choice at buying their old service weapons.

Any guns left over may be purchased by the public, provided all required licensing requirements are met.

Brown praised Chief of Police Ralph Schroeder and Major Brian Rhodes for their work in obtaining a grant to purchase the new Glocks.